6 Prisoner-Of-War Stories That Are Just As Shocking As Bowe Bergdahl’s
This season of Serial features the story of Bowe Bergdahl, the American soldier who was captured by the Haqqani in Afghanistan (which is comprised of known allies to the Taliban) and held prisoner under deplorable conditions for five years. Bergdahl is, of course, infamous for leaving his post. He is being tried for this offense.
But Bergdahl certainly isn’t the only example of a person undergoing extreme torture and abuse behind enemy lines. Here are some of the craziest stories of all time.
John R. Jewitt’s enslavement by the Nootka people.
In 1803, John R. Jewitt was on a ship anchored near Cape Fear. Due to a trading dispute, the Nootka people killed the ship’s entire crew except for Jewitt. Luckily, Jewitt was an armorer and could be of use to the tribe. For three years, Jewitt lived as a slave to Chief Maquinna. In his memoir about the experience, he claims that he was forced to marry into the tribe and even kill residents of other villages. If he resisted, he would have been killed.
American Civil War prison camps.
Mortality rates of prisoners of war on both the North and South sides were extremely high. Southern camps were often located near places with high rates of disease. Northerners believed that officials in the South were mistreating their prisoners on purpose, so they deliberately mistreated Southern prisoners as a form of recourse. In total, 56,000 soldiers died in prison camps, and the South refused to free any black soldiers who were captured.
The brave Aussies of the Selarang Baracks.
During World War II, the Japanese formed a prison camp in Singapore called Selarang Barracks, and it was filled with 17,000 British and Australian troops. After four escaped from the camp, the Japanese demanded that each remaining prisoner sign a pledge to not escape. The prisoners refused, so the Japanese forced them to stand for four days straight with no food or water. After several of the men died, they relented.
Russia’s soldiers who were imprisoned…for being prisoners.
Because the Soviet Union never signed the Geneva Convention, Germany held no standard of how well they should treat their captured soldiers during World War I. Over three million Soviets died in captivity. The rest were liberated, but life wasn’t much better for them after that. The Soviets believed that a soldier always fought to the death; therefore, all soldiers captured by the Nazis were sent to their country’s own prison camps as traitors.
John McCain in Vietnam.
Before he was a senator, John McCain was a war hero. While flying a bombing mission over North Vietnam, his plane was shot down by a missile. As he was being ejected, he fractured both arms and a leg before plunging into Truc Bach Lake. That’s where the Vietnamese found him. He was beaten and interrogated before being locked in solitary confinement for two years. When his father was named commander of all U.S. troops, the Vietnamese offered to free him. McCain refused, saying that he would not go unless every man imprisoned was released. They tortured him further, and he suffers from permanent disabilities because of his injuries.
Unit 731 was a secret Japanese facility in Pingfang, China, in which doctors performed cruel experimentations on live human beings. Chinese, Korean, and Mongolian prisoners sent here experienced chemical experimentation, injection of fatal diseases, and organ removal. The scientists of Unit 731 all received immunity from the U.S. in exchange for information.
The crimes committed against prisoners of war are often so horrible that many soldiers would have preferred to die in battle. War is hellish, but for the soldiers captured and mistreated by opposing armies, Hell would’ve been a more pleasant option.
Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/prisoners-of-war/